Monday, December 4, 2017

Water Forget Me Nots - God is in the details

I photographed these tiny little flowers at the National Rhododendron Garden in Olinda, Victoria, (that's near Melbourne) Australia last year during our furlough.

I found a photo on-line of myosotis scorpioides that looks like my photo, only much more detailed, when I was trying to identify another flower.

Myosotis scorpioides are also called “water forget me nots”. I don’t know why “water”. The ones I saw were not in the water. They were more of a ground cover. So I don’t know if the ones I found are a different variety. Nor can I tell the size. *Mine* were very tiny.

Anyway I love the intricate detailing on the flowers. At first glance they are just simple little blue flowers. But when I looked closer I noticed detailing that reminded me of intricate embroidery or finely embossed stationery. They made a delightful contrast to the large showy flowers on this colossal rhododendron bush they were across from.

Here is a close up of one of those flowers:
Also beautiful of course! But I especially like tiny flowers. 

I've always loved miniature things. 

"God is in the details" a friend once said and tiny flowers are a good example of that. To lavish so much of his creative energy and expertise on something that most people never notice, and may even walk on without realizing it, amazes me. 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

When I say 'no'...

I wrote the following several weeks ago. It was Spring and now it's Summer. I fully intended to post this. But I wanted to add a few more photos. Then it was time to make dinner and then before I know it two months roll around... sigh.

I really do want to get back to blogging. So here it is... "When I say 'no'":

I keep waiting for that magical moment when everything will come together and I'll know this is the time to blog again. Ever since we got back from furlough I keep hoping I'll feel all caught up and completely settled. Then the Red Sea will part before me and a yellow brick road will appear and I'll know this is the way walk ye in it, or something. It just occurred to me that's not likely to happen. Ever. If I don't just start then I never will. There will never be a time until I die when I am all caught up. In fact every time we return from furlough there is always some stuff that never gets dealt with. Some pocket of left-over papers that never get sorted, filed or acted on. In fact I usually eventually put them away. I hope to get to them sometime, but instead eventually forget about them until next furlough rolls around. So maybe they weren't that important after all!

I seem to be surrounded by over-achievers who fill up all their time and mine too if I let them, and I usually do. (My husband is no help either. I was hoping when we married that he would help set boundaries and protect me from myself. But he is worse than I am.) Then there's the unexpected people, like yesterday when E asked me for a ride. I should have looked at the clock more closely. I thought I had enough time to get her to DeSoto and still make it to my appointment in Plano. Then I realized after we were on our way that it was not looking too good. Why is it that my brain goes to jelly when people ask me for help. It's not like she was bleeding to death or something. No one was going to die if I said, "no". Anyway I did somehow make it to my appointment. But only because I drove like the proverbial bat.

So now that I am finally writing, what should I write about?

Recently I had a discussion about sin with my friend S. Particularly sins we tolerate. We Christians are pretty good at spotting some kinds of sins but sometimes miss others and don't realize they even are sins. Or we don't think they are very bad. I realized later I've been tolerating too much ingratitude in myself recently. I still write in my thankfulness journal most days. But the rest of the time my attitude has been more grumbly than grateful. If I remember right God has some pretty strong things to say about that. In fact one could say he is fairly intolerant of grumbling. Didn't he send some plagues because of it? Anyway, I admit my attitude is stinky. Sorry, God.

Then I realized that I may be even less likely to get what I want from a certain person if I stay mad and cranky. Of course he can't read my mind, so I need to tell him what I want. Saying what I want when it means saying 'no' and going against the stream of others' expectations is really hard for me. I even read the book "When I say no I feel guilty" but i still feel guilty when I say no! It seems like at my age I would have grown past this wimpy-ness by now. Sigh


Here are some photos from our time in Australia. I took these several months ago. It was Spring there then. It is Spring here now, so I guess that works.

These cute little puff balls are Wattle Tree blossoms. at the Wycliffe Center in Kangaroo Ground, Victoria
Saw these in a private garden near Brisbane. Yes it bugs me too that I don't know the name of them.

Galah in flight at a park in Brisbane
Yarra River, hiking in Warrandyte State Park, Victoria
flowering bush outside our front door at Kangaroo Ground

Another bush outside our Kangaroo Ground unit. I don't know the name of either one.

At the National Rhododendron Gardens near Melbourne.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Best Love Letter

Watched "Letters to Juliet" tonight. Cute movie. Better than I expected. The movie is a fiction "what if" romance story with a happy ending. It was inspired by the nonfiction book of the same name. I looked up the book to see what it's about and if any of the movie is true.

The book is the true story of how people send letters to Verona, Italy seeking advice about love from "Juliet"--as in "Romeo and Juliet". Of course the letter writers know she can't answer them. But there are volunteers there who are called the Secretaries of Juliet and they answer the letters. They've been doing it for over seventy years.The book tells the story of this group and has samples of letters they have received and answered over the years.

One comment on Amazon said the book is "for romantics the world over." The book sounds sweet I guess. But a little sad too. One comment said you can hear the pleading in the letters. It doesn't say what happens to the letter writers after they get the answer from the "Secretaries". Was it good advice? Did they follow it? Did their love last?

It got me thinking about love and letters and love letters and advice about true love. Which led me to thinking about the most important book about the most important love. It is advice about love and a love letter all in one. It's the best advice. We can always trust it. It isn't always clear how best to follow it. I wish it was clearer sometimes. But like the character Clair in the movie says, "life is the messy bits." Sometimes it's easy to doubt what it says about love. It takes faith. That's the way with any love letter or advice letter about love. We have to believe in the letter writer and the lover or we won't take the advice or trust the lover.

I'm thankful:
1. I can trust in God's unfailing love (yes, in case you didn't guess who I mean, He is the Lover and the Bible is the truest and best love letter)
2. Even when I can't see or feel Him he is still there
3. He has a plan for my life
4. It's a plan to prosper me and not to harm me. (Jeremiah 29:11).
5. His love letter has already been translated into my language!

More Women's Mission Convention photos

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Women's Mission Convention

I'm so thankful:
1. for the inspiring convention today here in Sydney
2. that the women enjoyed what I shared
3. how the organizers did such a good job to accommodate my dietary restrictions
4. that John made it safely to Dallas for his conference
5. for the lovely friendly ladies that I've met and re-met this weekend

It's very late (way past my bedtime) so won't write more now. Hope can write more when I get back to KG

Thursday, August 18, 2016

We're here! No kidding, right? it's been how many days? Sorry I haven't written sooner.

Lots going on.

I'll try to write about more of it soon. And post a few photos.

This Monday we moved into our little unit here at the Wycliffe Centre in Kangaroo Ground, Vic. While unpacking our boxes of things we keep in our church's attic I rediscovered a study guide that I worked on during our last furlough. It doesn't have any dates marked in it so it could be even older. It's a study guide on Jerry Bridge's book "Trusting God Even When Life Hurts." It was very good. But since I thought it unlikely I would do it again I wondered if it was worth keeping. Then I started thumbing through it from the back, as I tend to do, and noticed I had not completed the last chapter. Imagine my surprise when I came to the chapter title, "Giving Thanks Always." 

I never could have guessed when I left that book here four years ago, that I would be giving a talk on that very subject this furlough! Maybe this is just the boost I've been needing to help me finish preparing for the talk.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Is this day Five or Six?

More frantic than yesterday. Nearly packed. Furniture mostly packed in back bedrooms.

John in one of the few places left to sit. Who knew an upside down table would make a handy coat rack?
Still pretty but looking a little tired now--like us (the tired part anyway)